Agenda Item No.
JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM
Minutes of a meeting held on 8th July, 2013.
Present: Councillor G.H. Roberts (Chairman); Councillors K. Hatton, F.T. Johnson, Mrs. A.J. Preston and E. Williams.
Representatives of the Trades Unions:
Mr. P. Carter, Mr. R. Hughes, Mr. G. Moseley, Mr. G. Pappas and Ms. G. Southby (Vice-Chairman) (Unison); Mr. D. Dimmick (NASUWT); Mr. N. Patterson (Unite), Mr. N. Stokes and Mr. N. Hart (GMB).
(a) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Councillors Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and A.G. Powell and Mr. G. Beaudette (NUT) and Ms. K. Matthews.
(b) Minutes –
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th May 2013 be accepted as an accurate record.
(c) Declarations of Interest –
The following declaration of interest was received:
· Councillor G.H. Roberts – Agenda Item No. 7 – Discussion on St. Cyres School’s transfer from Foundation to Communities status. Councillor Roberts was a Governor of the school and was involved in that process. Councillor Roberts vacated the room whilst this item was under consideration.
(d) Matters Arising –
(i) Facilities Agreement Update
Mr. Carter wished to speak on this item and was advised that this matter was to be dealt with under Agenda Item. No. 8 later in the meeting.
Mr. Carter said that consultations were still not happening in relation to a particular school issue and that the school said that training should be carried out in non-school time.
Mr. Carter stated that the Trades Unions did not want to refer it to ACAS and wanted to deal with the issue here. Despite two meetings with the Headteacher, this issue had not been resolved.
(ii) Consultation at St. Cyres School and Llantwit Major School
In referring to Minute reference (j), Mr. Dimmick, in referring to the informal section within the redundancy policy, stated that he was very uncomfortable about it.
In particular, Mr. Dimmick was concerned with the wording regarding the policy which refers to schools being able to follow a particular route not only for budgetary reasons, but also for curriculum reasons. Mr. Dimmick stated that his members would always be opposed to this.
To avoid compulsory redundancies was acceptable, but the way this scheme was being operated was not satisfactory. Mr. Dimmick spoke of examples of staff in Barry Comprehensive School who had been asked to put their names forward for early retirement and had been given their financial figures on a post-it note. They were then asked to accept the offer there and then. Figures provided later were different to those originally quoted.
The Chief Learning and Skills Officer advised the Forum that an apology had been given for the errors that had occurred in the process.
The Operational Manager (Human Resources) further advised the Forum that there had been an agreed process to deal with this matter, which included an informal stage. It was always the intention of the Council to involve the Trades Unions to look at any opportunities to avoid redundancies.
(iii) Consultation: Learning and Skills Directorate
Mr. Carter referred to a meeting that had taken place between the Trade Unions as to the reasons why consultations had not taken place was that the Head of Service was concerned that the Council may lose funding because of time restraints and service demands including responding to the Estyn Inspection. This was confirmed by Mr. N. Stokes (GMB Secretary) who also attended the meeting with Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter stated that this was not what he called meaningful consultation and in his view was a poor reason for non-consultation.
The Head of Human Resources stated that any failure to consult on change would be regrettable. That was the reason for the existence of the Change Forum.
Mr. Carter stated that a particular matter had been raised at the Change Forum and that he had been told that this was not the correct forum for such discussions.
The Head of Human Resources, in response, stated that the Council was a large organisation and there was much change taking place at the moment. The process for consultation had been improved.
(iv) Consultation on Proposals for Schools’ Reorganisation
In referring to this item, the Chairman stated that he had spoken to the Leader of the Council on this and the feeling was that no benefit would result from the undertaking of a formal investigation.
(e) Directorate Consultative Groups –
The minutes of the following Directorate Consultative Groups were received:
- Social Services: 29th April, 2013
- Social Services: 18th June, 2013.
The minutes of the following Directorate Consultative Groups were circulated at the meeting:
- Visible Services and Housing Trade Union Liaison Group: 5th June, 2013
- Corporate Services: 26th June, 2013.
Mr. Carter referred to paragraph 4 of the minutes of the meeting held on 26th June, 2013 which referred to a gas leak in C1V and advised the Forum that the leak had been reported at 7.00 a.m. but nothing had been done about it until lunch time, despite members of staff complaining of nausea and headaches. Mr. Carter stated that he was confused by the information in the minutes. Mr. Carter understood that the incident forms were given to UNISON with a request that the names of employees be redacted as they wished to remain anonymous. In addition, he questioned whether an investigation had been completed given the fact that the incident forms had not been submitted until 2nd July. The Corporate Health and Safety Officer confirmed that she was undertaking an investigation.
The Forum was advised that the Health and Safety Officer was holding interviews into the matter and was unable to comment on them at the present time.
(f) Dates of Directorate Consultative Groups –
AGREED – T H A T the dates of Directorate Consultative Groups as indicated below be noted:
· Visible Services and Housing: 5th June, 2013
· Learning and Skills: 24th June, 2013
· Corporate Services: 26th June, 2013
· Development Services: 11th September, 2013.
(g) Corporate Health and Safety Committee –
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee held on 17th June, 2013 be noted.
Mr. Carter stated that he was disappointed that the meeting had been held when not all parties could attend.
In response, the Forum was advised that the dates of these meetings had been agreed some six months in advance and no request had been received for a postponement.
Mr. Patterson referred to Minute No. 2 which referred to it having been decided that, based on the criteria (and no history of incidents) that there was no requirement to locate a defibrillator at the Alps and advised that he had raised this issue some nine or ten months ago.
The Health and Safety Officer advised that a decision had been taken that defibrillators be used in places were large numbers of persons can gather, for example Leisure Centres.
(h) JCF Constitution Update –
The Head of Human Resources advised of discussions that had taken place regarding the influence of Trades Union representatives in the making of decisions at the Joint Consultative Forum, i.e. voting rights.
The Joint Consultative Forum Constitution had been revisited with the result that a report had been presented to CMT last week.
A previous review of the Constitution had resulted in changes in the way decisions were taken in that any points of dissention between the Management and Trades Unions sides were to be recorded in the minutes.
Since that time, there had been no requirement for the Trades Unions representatives having to vacate the room whilst the Members of the Forum took votes.
The purpose of the Joint Consultative Forum was to discuss issues at the highest level and with this in mind, further changes to the Constitution were in the process of being proposed.
In essence, it would be proposed that no recommendation of the Forum would be carried unless it had been approved by a majority of each of the groups (i.e. the Trade Union side and Elected Members). This issue was to be referred to the Terms and Conditions Group with a view to bringing the matter before the next meeting of the Joint Consultative Forum.
Mr. Carter, having seen the draft report, thanked the Head of Human Resources for the proposals. Mr. Carter asked if the role of the Vice Chair of the Forum could be reviewed as part of the review.
(i) Final Update on Job Evaluation Appeals Process –
The Vice-Chairman of the Forum, Ms. G. Southby, took the Chair after the Chairman had declared an interest and had vacated the room. Mr. Carter indicated that he was confused why the Vice-Chairman had been asked to take the Chair. This had not been the case when the Chair was unable to attend a previous JCF. In that instance, the meeting had to be cancelled and re-arranged.
The Forum was advised that all targets in relation to the Job Evaluation appeals process had been successfully met.
All appeals for employees who were adversely affected were fully completed by the beginning of February 2013 and the last of the appeals from those neutrally or positively affected was completed on 26th June, 2013.
The meeting of the targets was a result of the hard work of the Job Evaluation team and the commitment of managers and Trade Union representatives who had sat on Moderation and Appeals Panels.
The overall results of the appeals process showed that some 19% of appellants had seen an increase in their grade and 1% of appellants had seen a decrease in their grade. These figures demonstrated the objectiveness of the appeals process as initially agreed as part of the Single Status Collective Agreement.
Since the implementation of the new pay structure in March 2012, the number of those adversely affected had fallen by 224 from 685 to 461. The reasons for the reduction were as set out below:
Market Forces application
Turnover (internal / external)
Although the appeals process had now been exhausted, Members were aware that work would continue to provide appropriate support to those employees who remained adversely affected. This included training, advice and support, with the aim of helping employees to move out of adversity.
34 employees had so far received training and support, with 63 activities being undertaken or agreed to date. 6 redeployment trial periods had so far been undertaken and 3 permanent redeployment achieved to date. In addition to the above, the Council’s Joint Single Status / Job Evaluation Forum continued to meet to review the position of those occupational groups who remained adversely affected with a view to recommending appropriate support and interventions.
The Council’s Corporate Management Team had agreed the extension of the adversely affected support scheme to the end of September 2013 in order to capitalise on the momentum and success that had been achieved.
Mr. Carter reminded the Forum that there was still an outstanding issue regarding St. Cyres School and that he was still awaiting a response from the Operational Manager (Human Resources).
The Forum was advised that a meeting was to take place between the Operational Manager (Human Resources) and the Headteacher of the school during the forthcoming week. It was officers’ understanding that TUPE did not apply in this case because there was no change in the employer in that this remained the Governing Body under both Grant Maintained and Community School status and that the terms and conditions of employment had remained the same pre and post change of the school status. The Trade Unions had requested sight of the legal advice that was given to the Council on this issue but had been invited to obtain their own legal advice. The Trade Union opinion was that as the information could not be shared and there were still concerns about TUPE that the Union may need to seek independent advice.
Mr. Carter further stated that he hoped the Moderation Group could continue.
The Chairman, on his return to the Chair, took the opportunity to state that he recognised the efforts of all involved in the Job Evaluation process and thanked all those involved.
(j) Facilities Agreement Update –
The Operational Manager (Human Resources) provided an update on discussions with the Trades Unions.
An Accord had been drafted to be agreed between the Council and the Trades Unions about the duties of the Joint Secretaries. Exploratory discussions were being held.
Mr. Carter stated that his concern was that the Accord contained nothing specific about these representatives’ duties, and neither did it refer to the preparation time required for meetings.
It was the role of Trade Union representatives to represent their members. The involvement of the Trades Unions would save the Council money in the long term.
Mr. Dimmick echoed Mr. Carter’s comments about savings to the Council and spoke of independent research that had been undertaken which indicated that a benefit to employers of £3 could be achieved for every £1 of facility time.
A copy of the research findings was circulated at the meeting.
AGREED – T H A T the information provided to the Forum be noted.
(k) Feedback on Policy Development –
Mr. Dimmick advised that on 10th June 2013, he had tabled at a Policy Meeting the Joint Policy supplied by NASUWT. He stated that this pay policy had been virtually ignored.
Mr. Dimmick was disappointed that the policy was not included on the feedback of Human Resources Policies which had been prioritised and which were being formally reviewed on a rolling basis every four years or in the light of any development in employment legislation or good practice.
The Operational Manager (Human Resources) stated that a meeting had been arranged at Regional Level together with representatives of the Trades Unions. The meeting had been arranged at the request of the Consortium.
The Chairman recognised that the draft policy existed.
AGREED – T H A T the feedback on policy development be noted.